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Creed - Human Clay

Overall: B
Violence: B+
Sexual Content: A-
Language: A
Drugs/Alcohol: A-

North American release date: 28 Sep 1999
Label: Wind-up Entertainment/Sony
Genre: Rock/Pop
Lyrics: Included

I remember my Dad "politely" asking me if I would consider turning down the volume whenever I played Deep Purple's Machine Head album... He just couldn't appreciate the virtues of a wailing bass guitar. In pleading my case, I'd explain there was nothing wrong with the lyrics, then he'd refer me to his Mario Lanza and Frank Sinatra collections.

Human Clay allowed me to see my Dad's point of view. Although there's little of concern within these lyrics, they have that incessant, driving, hard-rock sound wrapped around them. A similar experience could be achieved by reading poetry while banging your head against a wall. While songs in this genre usually radiate hopelessness, hate, anger and revenge, I was pleasantly surprised to find these negative emotions absent from Creed's music. In fact, the songwriting team of Scott Stapp (vocals) and Mark Tremonti (guitar, vocals) presents the listener with substantial, mature lyrics.

On the track What If, hostile feelings are dealt with in the following manner... "I know I can't hold the hate inside my mind, ‘Cause what consumes your thoughts controls your life. So I'll just ask a question. What If? What if your words could be judged like a crime?"

Addressing the topic of sexual abuse on Wash Away Those Years, the listener is presented with a message of hope, rather than a "society owes me" attitude... "I know this decadence is shared by millions. Remember you're not alone. For we have crossed many oceans, and we labor in between. In life there are many quotients, and I hope I find the mean."

With Arms Wide Open, describes Scott's feelings upon discovering he was about to become a father... "Well I just heard the news today, it seems my life is going to change. I close my eyes, begin to pray, then tears of joy stream down my face." Something I'm sure many dads can relate to, even if they can't tolerate the seemingly strange combination of emotions like this being conveyed through hard-rock music.

Labeled Christian Rock by many, band members make it clear in a web-chat interview with RockOnLine, this is not the case. Rather, God is mentioned in some lyrics because they are trying to figure out whether or not they believe in Him. Where is this band heading? This is only their sophomore album, so it's hard to predict. But if your teenager enjoys this music, you may want to endure the auditory assault on occasion, just to be sure this band's Creed stays in line with yours.

.Jim Fleming